Viaduct Proposal Launch
We celebrated the second anniversary of the stunning renovation of Irlam Station House yesterday by launching another exciting railway-related project that could see the re-opening of Cadishead Viaduct.
The initiative has the potential to transform the derelict bridge into a major community asset in much the same way as Irlam Station was regenerated.
The viaduct, built in 1893 across the Manchester Ship Canal, could become a 21st Century multi modal transport route, massively improving connectivity between communities in our area and boosting prosperity.
The proposals were launched by Hamilton Davies Trust (HDT) chairman and philanthropist Neil McArthur, with the backing of Michael Portillo, BBC TV’s ‘Great Railway Journeys’ series presenter and ‘This Week’ panelist.
Neil McArthur said: “We’re building on the success of what we’ve done here at Irlam Station, which enjoyed a 17% rise in passenger figures in 2015, one of the highest in Greater Manchester.”
Neil added: “Cadishead Viaduct was once a bustling rail line across the Manchester Ship Canal but over the years it has turned in to an eyesore. It would be great to re-open this impressive structure to connect the communities of Carrington and Partington on one side and Irlam and Cadishead on the other”
Key stakeholders discuss viaduct re-opening
Proposals for re-opening the rail line across the viaduct, together with a cycle and pedestrian route, were discussed at a workshop involving key stakeholders at the Station House, which was restored in 2015 and is now home to a thriving local café bistro, heritage centre and community hub.
We have been heavily and passionately involved in the regeneration of Irlam and Cadishead since 2008, working with local, regional and national partners to make the area an even better place to live, work and enjoy.
In our regeneration role, we have been concerned for some time about the poor condition and appearance of the viaduct. Two years ago we started an investigation into the possibility of improving its appearance and putting the bridge back into use.
Our proposal document, which sets out compelling reasons to re-open the viaduct, was warmly received by partner organisations attending the workshop. We have now formally adopted the project and are championing the re-opening of the viaduct for multi modal use including a new section of the National Cycle Network, footpath and heritage railway.
Neil said: “We are passionate about regenerating Irlam and Cadishead and bringing the viaduct back into use would be a big win. It would be great to incorporate cycling and a heritage railway into the plans as the economic and environmental benefits would be huge. The East Lancs heritage railway shows the demand with 200,000 passengers a year, so it’s a great example to learn from.”
Railway buff Michael Portillo gives our plan his stamp of approval
Keen railway enthusiast Michael Portillo discussed the plans with Neil before making a speech in support of the heritage railway initiative to councillors and stakeholders attending the event.
Michael Portillo then engaged and chatted with attendees as well as taking part in a press conference and numerous
interviews with regional media. The press coverage has been great and you can see some of it by clicking the links below:
Michael Portillo said: “I’m impressed by the zeal shown by the Hamilton Davies Trust. If something as impressive as Irlam Station House has been done by Neil and his team, then nothing is impossible for the future.”
“Heritage lines run all over Britain thanks to that kind of enthusiasm, and they bring pleasure to many thousands, and greatly boost the economic health of the neighbouring communities.”
“Irlam and Cadishead is an area of extraordinary industrial and railway heritage and there are compelling reasons to re-open Cadishead Viaduct. I hope to one day return to the area and walk, cycle or travel across the bridge in the cabin of a steam train.”
The day ended with a good old party, celebrating the success of the day and our lovely stations 2nd birthday!
Neil McArthur said: “Today has been a great success, with a workshop in the morning to discuss the multi modal options for the viaduct, followed by an event with Michael Portillo to promote our proposal.”
Posted on: 29th March 2017